16 days: Forward

forward puzzle pieceSeeking a world where women and girls live in dignity, are healthy, and have choices and equal opportunities.

We ACT because they … work to transform lives, tackling discriminatory practices that affect the dignity and wellbeing of girls and women through partnerships in the UK, Europe and Africa.

One of the key issues FORWARD has focused over its last thirty years of championing the rights of African girls and women is female genital mutilation (FGM). FORWARD works in the UK, Europe and Africa to safeguard girls at risk of FGM and support women affected.

Within the UK, they engage with affected communities through events, training and community development initiatives. They provide training for frontline professionals, training and peer support for youth advocates, and engage with schools to increase awareness and empower young people. Their work in schools on FGM is so valued that they recently won a Charity Award for it. This is of great importance because in the UK 60,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM and 137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of it.

But FORWARD does not stop there. They are also dedicated to raising awareness about the issues they are working on and are always on the lookout for new creative ways to do this. Just this year they launched short animated videos to raise awareness about FGM in the UK, including My Body My Rules (below) and Needlecraft.

My Body My Rules aims to raise awareness about FGM amongst primary school children in the UK and can be used by teachers or NGOs carrying out sessions with children of this age who could be at risk of FGM. Needcraft is aimed at an older audience and can also be used as a visual aid to facilitate group sessions.

Through the invaluable campaigning of FORWARD and others, and the influence of the Istanbul Convention, FGM is now criminalised in the UK. If the Istanbul Convention were ratified and made law in the UK, it would require the Government to ensure vital awareness raising campaigns [Article 13], education [Article 14] and training of professionals [Article 15] needed to prevent violence against women and girls, such as that provided by FORWARD. Let’s act to ensure this.

ACT: Sign the petition for the Istanbul Convention to ensure awareness raising, education, and training on FGM

SUPPORT: Donate to or fundraise for Forward to show your support.